On 15 April 2013, the EU Advisory Group convened its twelfth Advisory Board Meeting co-chaired by Artur Baghdasaryan, Secretary of the National Security Council and Ambassador Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia. The Advisory Board expressed its satisfaction with EUAG policy guidance last year and endorsed the EUAG 2012 Annual Report.
Policy advice provided by the EUAG has helped Armenia further align with the EU on a number of important fronts. The most visible progress achieved in 2012 included the signing of the Visa Facilitation Agreement, the adoption of the National Strategy on Human Rights Protection and the launch of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
Ambassador Traian Hristea expressed appreciation for the achievements of the project in the past. “The EU Advisory Group is a landmark EU funded project that has provided assistance to Armenia on the path towards closer EU integration. The time has now come to build on developments in preparation for the future EU-Armenia Association Agreement package. The EU Advisory Group will continue to support this important reform process,” he added. During 2012, the EU Advisory Group also supported initial steps towards setting-up a probation service in-line with European standards.
The Annual Report highlights policy advice provided in strengthening democratic structures. This work resulted in wider public debate with civil society, and a first meeting of the EURONEST Committee on Social Affairs, Education, Culture and Civil Society in Yerevan. Meanwhile, three Armenian political parties gained observer member status in the European People’s Party.
The Board meeting noted the EUAG Work plan and Needs Assessment Report for January-June 2013, which was developed in consultation with beneficiaries. This report updates an earlier need assessment prepared during May 2011. It presents a gap analysis, contrasting the current and desired situations, thereby providing the rationale for actions under the Work plan.
The Board also considered recommendations presented by the Advisory Board Meeting Working Group and discussed the results of a EUAG Mid-Term Evaluation – Phase III.
High-ranking officials from the President’s Office, the Government and the National Assembly, Embassies of EU Member States and international organisations, including UNDP attended the meeting. The Annual Report is available at www.euadvisorygroup.eu in English and Armenian.